Review: Game Engine Gems 2 by Eric Lengyel

Game Engine Gems 2 is the second book in a series from editor Eric Lengyel, one of the premiere game engine developers in the scene. I read the first book and I will say this second volume is even better in my opinion. There are a vast number of topics covered, and I found the depth in most of them to be thorough, considering that this is a gem collection and not a full book. Inside there are 31 chapters, each from a different author, and a lot of ground is covered. Chapters include: bounding boxes, volumetric clouds, night vision, deferred shading, OpenGL tricks, stereo 3d, web browser 3d, object-oriented design, networked games, GPGPU cloth physics, bit hacks, memory management, multi-threading, and more. Each section was given about 10 to 20 pages, but the authors were concise and were able to explain the concepts well in the short space. I very much enjoyed the wide span of content and I feel this is a text I will look back upon for reference in my own development.

While some of the topics were a bit over my head, I did find most of the book to be digestible and relevant. The text would be most apt for people developing their own engines, especially in C++. A few of the early chapters could likely be applied to commercial engines (for example, the sections on volumetric clouds or night-vision shaders) but the the vast majority of the book is focused on more lower-level engine work. I liked that stereoscopic 3d was covered in a few chapters, and the depth was greater than in the first book. The chapters on multi-threading were also very helpful, even though this is admittedly a confusing area for me (I bet I’m not alone). And the section for bit hacks was pretty interesting, which showed some tricks like how to test the sign of a number without branching. Overall, I think this is an awesome book and feel it was somehow overlooked. I would recommend this to any engine developer. Also bought the 3rd book in the series, and I’m looking forward to see how that stacks up.

Click here to buy this book on Amazon and help support my site.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.